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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Is selling Somme Relics legal?


hillgorilla
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Yes, I understand.

I was just trying to, heaven forbid, answer the question at hand.

The question being 'is selling Somme relics legal?' and I have concerns that it may not be, especially if they are exported.

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It's supply and demand.

If no one bought them, nobody would sell them and so nobody would go around metal detecting.

IF YOU BUY THIS STUFF YOU CAN'T MOAN IF ABOUT WHERE IT COMES FROM. You don’t want fakes so it has to be dug up (where did you think it came from). When the price is high enough for badges, shoulder flashes and buttons, they’ll be digging up the graves. And the sad thing is someone will buy them.

My father walked the battlefields in the 50's and 60's. He has photos of rusting helmets on fence posts, old SMLEs leaning up against trees, basically kit every where. All gone now that it's worth something.

And it's only worth something because you are prepared to pay for it. Stop buying and the trade collapses.

IMHO

Dave

Well i for one do not buy the stuff!! I agree Dave! :P i have left footprints and taken thoughts of a much loved member of my family on The Somme and it breaks my heart even though i never got to meet him, i have his personal letters and other family information...so to me he is someone very real, especially as when i was a child, i visited my Gt Uncles grave with my Grandad, and it was the only time i ever saw him cry. :(

I thought that was an interesting point ...about the museum selling the relics! i had honestly never given that a thought!! I still believe its wrong.......i think that morally, it should all be left in situ, like most of our ancestors. In reality of course, this couldnt happen as there will always be people who want to make money.

Regarding museums.......i think that if the contents are sold on, then its also wrong, they should all be made to return the finds to the areas where they were orginally found...to some kind of storage place that could also function as a type of museum/ memorial. Its because our society is based around greed that the selling and buying of this kind of stuff happens, we are saturated by media who tell us that we have to have this and that, and be 'richer' than the person next to us! It disappoints me endlessly! :angry:

Sorry, i didnt rest my case as stated in the earlier post, but couldnt resist, as i am very passionate about the morality issue of the whole thing!

Alison

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Its because our society is based around greed that the selling and buying of this kind of stuff happens, we are saturated by media who tell us that we have to have this and that, and be 'richer' than the person next to us! It disappoints me endlessly! :angry:

Alison

I think that this type of thing has been going on for a very long time....how many pieces of the true cross were sold during the middle ages.

Andy

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Alison

I think that this type of thing has been going on for a very long time....how many pieces of the true cross were sold during the middle ages.

Andy

Can I have a piece? Any going on ebay? I have a toe nail from St Kevin the Wobbly. Can pay up to 30 pieces of silver - no more mind.

:P

Dave

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Or grave robbing, dependant on your point of view of course.

:angry: IF YOU HAVE BEEN TO THE BATTLEFIELDS, YOU WOULD KNOW THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DIG ANYTHING UP, THE SORT OF THINGS I THINK PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT, ARE WHAT YOU WOULD FIND WHILST FIELD WALKING SO YOUR REPLY I FIND DEEPLY OFFENSIVE :angry:

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Why offensive? Although it's a point of view that I totally disagree with myself (personally, I think there's far too much hysteria and over-exaggeration on this forum as regards this subject and can see it going down the same road as Haig and S.A.D. soon, to be honest), it's just Max's opinion and should, like anyone elses, be respected as such.

I see nothing wrong at all with picking up (safe) finds from the battlefields, Max might see it as grave robbing (or maybe he doesn't, he didn't actually say that he did if you read his post). Two differing points of view that's all. What's offensive enough about that to force such a bad tempered post?

Dave. :)

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:angry: IF YOU HAVE BEEN TO THE BATTLEFIELDS, YOU WOULD KNOW THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DIG ANYTHING UP, THE SORT OF THINGS I THINK PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT, ARE WHAT YOU WOULD FIND WHILST FIELD WALKING SO YOUR REPLY I FIND DEEPLY OFFENSIVE :angry:

The last eight words of my post are the important ones. If you find them offensive, thats your problem.

Andy

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I see nothing wrong at all with picking up (safe) finds from the battlefields, Max might see it as grave robbing (or maybe he doesn't, he didn't actually say that he did if you read his post). Two differing points of view that's all. What's offensive enough about that to force such a bad tempered post?

Dave. :)

well said dave

everyone has opinions and has the right to air them but in a calm and sensible manner so there no need to SHOUT a post

i agree with dave battlefield safe finds in my opinion are ok my own personel veiw ,the odd spent cartridge , fuse cone etc, dont agrre with the teams that search locate and pillage on a large scale to sell for large profits thats a different matter a no no in my book.

As for people collecting why should they be critisised , do we critisise museums? where did their stuff come from ? lets all calm down on this matter and lets agree to disagree

tafski

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I agree with Taf, I have no problem with it, a few empty/inert SAA rounds are ok by me and look nice when cleaned and and displayed. They make a good convo peice (if your friends like ww1).

Once it gets to grave robbing and desacration of graves them fair enough, and i understand that.

I collect and if ya wish to criticise me then please do, i dont mind.

I have been to the somme once, all ya have to do is look at the fields its just there, (mind the flint :P ) staring you in the face.

I repect anyones opinion, just dont try pushing it and making it a problem on here, we all have a common interest and at the end of the day, Its just not worth it. the medal collectors have a armisitce, so can't we?

collectors we are people to :lol:

Gaz

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I posted my views on my thread 1/6 or 1/8 R Warks find. Was found on surface and no evidence whatsoever of a link it to a fallen soldier. If so different story. You dont find relics on the battlefield they find you.

Remembering and respecting.

TT

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You dont find relics on the battlefield they find you.

So true.

It seems to me that there are those who actively search and dig for relics (usually for profit), and those who pick items up as souvenirs or for personal interest. There is a HUGE difference between these two practices. It's a shame that both parties are tarred with the same brush by so many on here :( .

Dave

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It seems that large numbers of people on here tour the battlefields looking at their feet rather than at the actual lie of the ground :blink:

I don't collect BTW :)

Andy

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It seems that large numbers of people on here tour the battlefields looking at their feet rather than at the actual lie of the ground :blink:

Young kids (unsure about adults) aren't exactly interested in how the ground lies, Andy - that can come later. However, if finding things "that were there" encourages an interest for the next generations, then,surely, it can only be a good thing. See my attached post from another thread - these finds (after my son took them to school to show them) have made his school ask me to come in to give a talk about the Great War and , thus, have already furthered interest in and contact with the subject to a younger generation and they haven't even been out of the ground a month yet!

Dave

post-357-1177540318.jpg

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Young kids (unsure about adults) aren't exactly interested in how the ground lies, Andy - that can come later.

Dave

A bit below the belt using a child to illustrate your point....somehting i'd do :) You know full well that I am not talking about kids, and i'm not talking about someone who picks up the odd cartridge case or shrapnel ball. I'm talking about what I like to call field monkeys, adults who walk across fields hunched over like large chimps looking to see what they can scavenge with scant regard for their surroundings or the sensitive nature of what they "recover" for their collection or ebay. I'm sure that there are no people like that on this forum :rolleyes:

Andy

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You know full well that I am not talking about kids, and i'm not talking about someone who picks up the odd cartridge case or shrapnel ball. I'm talking about what I like to call field monkeys, adults who walk across fields hunched over like large chimps looking to see what they can scavenge with scant regard for their surroundings or the sensitive nature of what they "recover" for their collection or ebay.

You know I know what you mean, Andy :) . It's just that some people on here seem to classify all who pick anything up as the same.

(you'd have laughed at a couple of your "field monkeys" near Quebec Cemetery (basically in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere if you don't know it) a fortnight ago BTW - I don't think they expected a car to be speeding up the dirt track at about 40mph (in a lovely cloud of dust!) from Sun Quarry at that time of day(dusk)! I think they thought I was the police and ran off towards their car a couple of fields away. My son got a couple of shrapnel balls and a buckle while I was in the cemetery and I got myself a nice brand new folding spade/pick combo from where they ran from! :lol: Used it in the garden last week.

Dave

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As for people collecting why should they be critisised , do we critisise museums? where did their stuff come from ?

Well, presumably following your own logic, it's not a question of just collecting as an activity, it's how you do it and what you collect m (i.e. not carting off bucketloads of stuff from F&F, just the odd spent bullet etc). In that sense it's a legal, moral and ethical business. And museums have guidelines for this, as I am sure you are aware. I might also add that Metal Detectorists also have a Code of Conduct.

Very often museums are criticised for their collecting policies, as I am sure you know. Restitution, repatriation etc etc... ad infinitum.

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I thought that was an interesting point ...about the museum selling the relics! i had honestly never given that a thought!! I still believe its wrong.......i think that morally, it should all be left in situ, like most of our ancestors. In reality of course, this couldnt happen as there will always be people who want to make money.

Regarding museums.......i think that if the contents are sold on, then its also wrong, they should all be made to return the finds to the areas where they were orginally found...to some kind of storage place that could also function as a type of museum/ memorial.

I understand your concerns, but do not panic!

If museums have obtained legal title to their collections, as they should do, then they are entitled to sell on/dispose of those collections as they see fit. This does not happen on a regular basis, but if museums have the power to acquire and accession material into their collections, they also have the power to remove or de-accession material from their collections.

I agree that the best place to curate and conserve the history of an area is in that area itself.

A 'storage place that could also function as a type of museum' is a museum and if you are in favour of strengthening the role of local, very often volunteer based, museums in the wider historic community then I welcome your support.

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You are right simon detectorists in france do have their own code of conduct, it is as follows

1 operate at night

2 don't ask permission

3 dont record what you find where

4 hope customs don't stop you at dover

All because it is illegal to detect in france!

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It's amazing how so many people always know better than the people in the place just what is legal and what is not.

The fact is that, whether you see people with metal detectors or spades or anything else, taking anything from a battlefield in France is ILLEGAL.

The Gendarmerie are not going to be too fussed about a few shrapnel balls or the odd cartridge case, but anything much bigger is going to get you into a lot of trouble.

Whether you like this or lump it is a matter of total indifference. When you are sat in front of the examining magistrate is will be no good explaining to him or her that you think that this is being respectful to the dead, a way of preserving the battlefield memories or anything else. You will be in court.

As I have said before the maximum fine is 10,000 euros and imprisonment. This maximum is handed down at least three times every year at Verdun alone.

Those who don't believe this or think they have an exemption because they are British are quite welcome to bring their metal detector and shovel and start digging.

You can always write your memoirs from a prison cell.

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Isn't everyone getting emotional and upset about something that is exagerated by every telling...most of this is anectdotal..I hve heard the same stories repeated over with slight embelishments over the years which are again being told as happened last week..there is a post here from someone giving an informed opinion on the occurrence of metal detecting in france when I know for a fact that gentleman has only been to Ypres once and that was for 4 days 5 years ago. Bodies stripped? piles of bones? evil detectorists, that smugglers haven, ebay? Get a grip on reality.

Mick

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illegal in France ? Maybe, but how enforced is it ? I'm a regular visitor to French websites where people happily talk about and display their "finds" that they dug up at the weekend. I don't like it though.

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Isn't everyone getting emotional and upset about something that is exagerated by every telling...most of this is anectdotal..I hve heard the same stories repeated over with slight embelishments over the years which are again being told as happened last week..there is a post here from someone giving an informed opinion on the occurrence of metal detecting in france when I know for a fact that gentleman has only been to Ypres once and that was for 4 days 5 years ago. Bodies stripped? piles of bones? evil detectorists, that smugglers haven, ebay? Get a grip on reality.

Mick

As ever well said mick

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